Sports

Stafford throws 3 TD passes, Lions handle Tampa Bay 34-17

  • Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria (80) is congratulated on 10-yard reception for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria (80) is congratulated on 10-yard reception for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13), defended by Detroit Lions strong safety James Ihedigbo (32), makes a catch for a 26-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13), defended by Detroit Lions strong safety James Ihedigbo (32), makes a catch for a 26-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown is sacked by Detroit Lions outside linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) as Lions defensive tackle C.J. Mosley (99) closes in during the second half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown is sacked by Detroit Lions outside linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) as Lions defensive tackle C.J. Mosley (99) closes in during the second half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)  (The Associated Press)

Matthew Stafford threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns — including one off a fluky deflection late in the game — and the Detroit Lions kept the pressure on in the NFC North race with a 34-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

The Lions (9-4) trail first-place Green Bay by a half-game, with the Packers hosting Atlanta on Monday night.

Tampa Bay (2-11) was finally eliminated from playoff contention — the NFC South's mediocrity could only keep the Bucs in it for so long. They turned the ball over three times in the second quarter against Detroit and never led.

The Lions have won two in a row, and they figure to be favored again next weekend when they face Minnesota in their final home game of the regular season.

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